Updated: Jun 15, 2022
Lolo means oil in Tongan.
As a kid, I used to think the coconut oil applied for Tongan dance performance was so that money/fakapale would stick to the dancer. 🤷♀️
I got older and heard old wives' tales that the female dancers whose skin glistens with oil are virgins, and those whose skin absorbs the oil isn't. I don't know how that works, or why people think that oil quantity on skin has some relation to virginity 🤔
According to the old wives tales, there are so many things to watch during a tauolunga. You watch the movements/fola haka, the facial expressions, the costume and the oil. 👀👀 Oil and virginity still don't make sense to me, because everyone has different skin types so everyone's bodies will react differently. But I guess these kinds of superstitions aim to police women's bodies and judge her worth.🙈🙈 I dunno.
Other than the oil virgin thing, one thing I do find cool about a solo tauolunga though is when they do the intro and they talk about all the different villages the girl is from, based on the resources used to make her costume and oils. Talk about knowing your roots! Anyway, I just think that's one thing really cool.
Unrelated sidenote: I personally don't know how tauolunga, I have dry skin and my favourite lolo are the Fijian siale oil from the fale siaina and lolo mohokoi+pako my aunt makes every once in a while (although she makes it for my brother, who is her favourite). Also, I found the tauolunga picture on Google images search. It's the first thing that popped up. I am not that talented to have drawn such a pretty picture. ✌
To finish, thank you to my tauolunga expert friends for sharing your insights! Malo!